Broadcast media hit for deceptive editing on Columbus shooting

April 22, 2021

By John Ransom

Just a few days removed from the verdict in the George Floyd case, NBC is being ripped for its deceptive editing in the death of Ma’Khia Bryant by police in Columbus, Ohio. Bryant was shot and killed by police around the time the verdict in the Floyd case was being announced. 

NBC inflamed its reporting of the case by editing out references to “these grown girls over here, trying to fight us, trying to stab us” on the 911 call police heard on the way to the call. 

It also edited out showing the knife in the girl’s hand on the police bodycam of the subsequent shooting that Columbus police later released. 

The NBC News video contrasts with ABC and CBS videos, shared by Nicholas Fondaraco on Twitter, both of which highlighted the call and the knife in the girl’s hand. 

NBC, Fondaraco notes, merely showed the knife on the ground, not in the girl’s hand, leaving some doubt in viewer’s minds what happened. 

Last week, Chicago was rocked by protests over the shooting death of Adam Toledo, 13, by police. Body camera video showed Toledo with a gun in his hand moments before he turned around, threw his hands in the air, without the gun, and was shot. 

A photo of the gun lying by the fence has been used by both protestors and supporters of police to buttress their positions. 

In the Columbus case, however, the video evidence is clear that the girl had a knife.   

But, CBS doesn’t get off scot-free. 

The network was accused of deceptive editing in their website version of the story because the photo they used on the site was not of the body cam, but instead a still shot of a confusing video of protests going on in Columbus. 

But it’s not just the networks that are at fault. 

The legacy media at the Washington Post and the New York Times were also called out for tweets that omitted a reference to the knife in the Columbus shooting. 

It’s irresponsible, especially in these heightened emotional circumstances for media to omit key details that greatly change people’s interpretation of events that led to the shooting death. 

America’s judicial system is big enough to bear the weight of these continuous investigations. But, so far, it looks like our media system is not big enough. 


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